HomeSportsCricketEngland can be match for anyone, says Anya Shrubsole ahead of World...

England can be match for anyone, says Anya Shrubsole ahead of World Cup defence

Anya Shrubsole says England are “really confident” they can challenge Australia as they prepare for the defence of their Women’s World Cup title in New Zealand.

England get their campaign under way against the tournament favourites in Hamilton on Saturday, looking for revenge for their recent Women’s Ashes humbling.

England struggled in the multi-format series in Australia as the hosts won all three one-day internationals and the tourists failed to win a match, although three of the contests were rain-affected and two completely washed out.

Shrubsole, however, believes England can bounce back from their disappointment.

We’re really confident that if we play our best cricket we can really challenge Australia

Anya Shrubsole

“With a World Cup they’re one-off games and we’re really confident that if we play our best cricket we can really challenge Australia,” the swing bowler told the PA news agency.

“You’ve just got to get it right on the day and I think long enough will have passed between the end of the Ashes and the start of the World Cup.

“It’s really important for us as a team to be able to park what happened over in Australia and almost feel like we’re starting the tournament afresh.

“We know that if we play our best cricket we are a match for anyone on our day.”

Australia go into this tournament as the team to beat, topping the International Cricket Council’s ODI rankings and having lost just one match in the format in the last two years – and that a dead rubber against India – England are the defending champions.

Shrubsole was the star of the 2017 World Cup final when she tore through India’s lower order, finishing with six for 46, including five wickets in 19 balls, as England snatched victory from the jaws of what appeared an inevitable defeat at a sold-out Lord’s.

But the 30-year-old does not believe going into the tournament as defending champions will bring added pressure.

“I don’t think so to be honest, I think it’s one of those things – there will always be a title holder going into it,” she said.

Shrubsole took six for 42 as England beat India in the final of the last World Cup in 2017 (John Walton/PA)

(PA Archive)

“A huge amount of time has passed since then. I think whatever happened in that tournament has absolutely no bearing on this, but it’s obviously a title that we’re keen to have a really good stab at defending.”

The tournament was originally scheduled to take place 12 months ago but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now Shrubsole is raring to go.

She said: “Obviously, it (the tournament) was postponed last year, so it’s been five years since the last World Cup.

“They’re always amazing tournaments to be a part of, so I’m really excited to be out here and playing in a World Cup and having a shot at defending our title.”

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